Pay Attention or Lose

We have all lost keys, pens, rings, and probably a wallet at some time. We often don't pay attention to where we put things. Statistics show that not paying attention can cost us big time. For example, according to consulting firm Tower Group, $5 billion in gift cards—about 6% of the amount spent—will go unused this year. American households have an estimated $10 billion in spare change stashed in jars and piggy banks, according to Coinstar, maker of coin-counting products. We don't pay attention. And when we don't pay attention, we forget.

  What to do?  Have a place for all small objects that you use every day and put your keys, change, and pens there as soon as you get home. For me, it is a small basket on a shelf next to my office desk. If you consistently forget your cell phone because it’s on the charger, put your keys with it. Spend your gift card as soon as you receive it; treat the gift card as money and spend it quickly. That should be easy!  Create a "trigger" or "reminder" that makes you focus on the item quickly. I have a leather "S" attached to my keys, and all coupons and gift cards are at the front of my top drawer in my desk; I see them each time I open the drawer.

  Develop a system so that if you do tend to lose things, you have in place a method to make your search end quickly and easily. (And just in case that doesn’t work for you, you can buy homing devices that beep when you press a button on home base! One you might want to check out is at

Steve Boyd
Steve Boyd
Stephen D. Boyd, Ph.D., CSP, is Professor Emeritus of Speech Communication, College of Informatics, Northern Kentucky University, near Cincinnati. Steve won the Toastmasters International Speech Contest in 1970 and was chosen Outstanding Professor of the Year at NKU in 1984, among other awards and honors. Since retiring, he volunteers with nonprofits, spends time with family, travels, preaches occasionally, and enjoys reading and writing. Contact Steve at (859) 866-5693 or at

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